Are you mozzie ready?
Tuesday 13 October 2020
The days are getting warmer, which means mozzie season is just around the corner and breeding season has already commenced. So, are you mozzie ready?
Did you know that under the Public Health Act, you can be fined if you are breeding mosquitos around your home? You might not be breeding them intentionally, but you may have hidden breeding sites in your backyard, like bird baths, clogged drains or gutters.
Getting your home and yourself ready for mosquito season is your best protection against avoiding bites from mozzies and the diseases they can carry.
Why you should avoid mosquito bites
Getting bitten by a mozzie can be annoying and itchy. But, there is another reason you should avoid getting bitten. Mosquitos in Queensland can carry and transmit diseases. The effects of these diseases can range from mild to severe and, sometimes, can be fatal. A full list of mosquito-borne diseases in humans that Queensland Health monitors for can be found here .
Prepare your home
There are a couple of ways you can prepare your home for mosquito season. Firstly, remove potential breeding grounds by tidying up your yard and disposing any items that may be holding water. This could include self-watering pot plants, children’s toys, buckets, water tanks and even vases.
You should do the following weekly around your home and yard:
- Tip out any water and wipe out things like plastic containers, tarpaulins or buckets.
- Store anything that can hold water undercover or in a dry place, including work equipment, surplus materials or trailers, and keep bins covered.
- Throw out any rubbish lying around like unused or empty containers or tyres.
Protect your home
Removing potential breeding sites is an important step in controlling risk from mosquitoes. However, there are also some things you can do to your home to help protect your family from pesky mozzies.
- Install or repair insect screens on all doors and windows
- Keep swimming pools chlorinated or salted and well maintained
- Ensure ponds are stocked with fish
- Repair clogged drains and remove debris from gutters
- Use a plug-in insecticide vaporiser (indoors) or mosquito coils (outdoors, in well ventilated areas).
Domestic surface sprays can be found at hardware stores and supermarkets. If you decide to DIY spray your home it’s important you follow the directions and safety instructions.
Protect yourself and your family
You may have heard of a few mozzie myths like, bananas or beer will protect you from mozzies. Or, vitamin B is effective in repelling mosquitos. Not true. We’ve debunked these common myths and revealed some truths on this mozzie blog.
Avoid being outside unprotected, particularly where and when mosquitoes are most active. If you are outside at this time, your best defence against mozzies includes wearing long, loose clothing and using a good repellent.
A repellent helps to mask the ‘smell’ of our skin and repels the mosquito, forcing them to look elsewhere for blood. Repellents can be derived from botanical products or they can be made from synthetic chemicals. You may have heard of one diethyltoluamide, commonly called DEET, which is a very effective repellent. A repellent with a stronger concentration of chemicals will usually last longer.
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) regulate products like insect repellent, so you know it’s safe to use. When using a repellent make sure you follow the instructions on the bottle.
A few sprays here and there is not going to fully protect you, as the mozzies will just find patches of skin that are not covered in repellent. It’s important you find a safe mosquito repellent and use it correctly. Instructions may vary when applying on your face or on children. It is generally not recommended to use repellents on babies under 3 months. Instead, physical barriers such as netting on prams and insect screens on windows is preferred.